The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Friday 2 March 2018

Diplomacy

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Passport power

Japanese and Singaporean citizens can now go visa-free to more countries than anyone else.

Japan and Singapore now have the most powerful passports in the world – pushing aside previous frontrunner Germany. Citizenship advisory firm Henley & Partners has unveiled its passport power index, which ranks the documents based on how many nations allow its passport carriers visa-free access. The two Asian passports have tied for first place this year, each securing holders access to 180 nations. A similar index released by Arton Capital also put Singapore at the top of its rankings, alongside South Korea. Though imperfect, the rankings indicate which nations are doing well in the diplomatic stakes – and it’s clear that a few of Asia's heavy hitters are doing very well indeed.

Fashion

Image: Getty Images

Reality check

The fashion world gasps as Riccardo Tisci gets the chance to give a Givenchy-style makeover to a very British brand.

The big announcement fashionistas had been waiting for came yesterday morning: Burberry revealed that its new chief creative officer would be Riccardo Tisci. While many had expected a British designer to be named, in some ways Tisci’s appointment makes perfect sense. The Italian turned Givenchy’s fortunes around during his 12 years there, where he made the clothes sexier, more “street” and got celebrities to wear them. Marco Gobbetti, Burberry’s CEO, will be hoping Tisci can do something similarly effective for the British label, which is struggling to find its place in a slower luxury market. Gobbetti has said he wants to elevate Burberry to an “ultra-luxury” brand to rival Gucci and Louis Vuitton – labels that have excelled in capturing the next generation of shoppers.

Election

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Opportunity knocks

If you want to campaign in the Paraguay elections, go to Argentina.

French presidential candidates head to London when it’s election time due to the large expat community that lives there. Similarly, when it’s time for Paraguayans to vote, the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires can be a vital stop in the campaign calendar. Efraín Alegre, part of the Alianza Ganar, has been touring the outskirts of the city that are home to a large population of Paraguayans, in a bid to win their vote on 22 April. While there, he had a dig at the ruling Colorado party and the dictatorship of its former leader Alfredo Stroessner, saying that expats had left “looking for opportunities our country denied them for 70 years”. Though it’s unclear whether Alegre will garner enough support within Paraguay to topple the Colorados, by appealing to his countrymen who’ve left over the years he could have a fighting chance.

Shipping

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Ship shape

China’s ‘Taurus’ container ship is central to bullish plans for the Athenian port and wider Greek economy.

The world’s largest container ship, China’s Taurus, docked in Greece’s Piraeus port this week, another sign that the Athenian hub is fast becoming key to China’s One Belt One Road initiative. The Taurus, which is 400-metres long, is owned by China’s largest shipping company Cosco, which also holds a majority share in Piraeus port after purchasing it from the Greek government. In the next five years the port is expected to be the Mediterranean’s largest cargo hub and the fourth largest in Europe (behind Rotterdam, Antwerp and Hamburg). For Greece, investment from China can’t come soon enough as the country tries to push through a number of privatisations ahead of its exit from the EU bailout programme anticipated for August.

From Monocle 24

James Eden, Private White VC

The Entrepreneurs

In 2010, James Eden gave up a job in finance to turn around a 100-year-old factory in Manchester. The result is Private White VC, a luxury menswear brand where everything is made in Britain. Eden tells us how Private White VC breathed new life into the factory – and the community.

From Monocle Films

The secret to throwing a dinner party

In our new “secret to” series, supper club host Gabriel Waterhouse shares his tips on organising a friendly feast in your home with great-quality food and (just as important) an entertaining atmosphere.

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